GENERAL COMMENTS Wow! There are letters to the editors referencing the last edition of the Review! And no issue is included later that April 10! I knew you guys and gals could do it! Now if only the Review didn’t appear in my mailbox two issues at a time! Ah well, progress is progress. (By the way, this issue rates about a 7 on a 10 point scale.)
COVER STORY Life in the Lions’ Den by John Graz Graz reminds us that religious freedom is nonexistent in more than forty countries, and asks the question, “What would your life be like if you lived in one? According to Homer Trecartin, Planning Director, Office of Adventist Mission, to avoid prison or death, you would meet in “really small groups”.
ARTICLES Hellfire and Brimstone by Alvin A. Wilson The subhead reads, “It’s about our motivation for salvation; it’s about the character of God.” I couldn’t agree more. I also agree that the notion of everlasting hell fire is ridiculous “on its face” and extra biblical. However Wilson portrays God as sending “Jesus to the cross so as to bring about our forgiveness”.
This interpretation of Scripture is consistent with Adventism’s Fundamental Belief # 9. Unfortunately this “belief” demeans the life and teaching of Christ and pictures a pagan god who can only be appeased by the torture and death of his own son. Humans crucified Jesus. God had nothing to do with it.
We need only remember that Adventists, along with most Christians, are Trinitarians (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One) to realize how irrational this “satisfaction theory” is. We also have the words of Jesus in John 16: 25-27. “The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in veiled language but tell you about the Father in plain words. When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do NOT say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.”
Letting Your Light Shine by Ellen G. White Mrs. White’s words encourage and inspire. “The influence of the work we are doing will be felt through all eternity. If we will work in harmony with one another and with heaven, God will demonstrate his power in our behalf.”
To the Top by Frederick C. Pelser In 1933 Maurice Wilson froze to death above the 20,000-foot-mark on Mount Everest. His story is an amazing account of a man who surmounted unbelievable psychological, political, and physical obstacles in his attempt to summit Everest. However, I am in full agreement with Pelser when he writes, “Such vision and perseverance deserve a nobler cause.”
Diet and Environment by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless As usual, these docs know what they are talking about. And they don’t just talk about the heavy environmental costs to the environment of meat eating. They also argue for population control.
DEPARTMENTS Letters I particularly applaud the letter headed, Worthy or Not by Henry James Welch. “We disappoint the Lord when we place a low estimate upon ourselves. . .The Lord desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them or else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive and dangerous journey to redeem them.”
Kids View Once again, nice job! The graphics, the games, the calendar, and the kids’ comments about their dads are very cool!
Clifford Goldstein The World’s Dead As usual, Goldstein is thought provoking. He begins his essay with these words. “How much (if ever) have you thought about the outrageousness of what we have to believe?” He is referring to the Christian belief in the resurrection of the world’s dead. So far so good.
However, I couldn’t disagree with him more when he asserts that without faith in this belief, “our religion, everything we believe in and hope for is . . . ‘vain’. Loving our enemies, turning the other cheek, obeying the golden rule—these all mean nothing if we ultimately vanish into oblivion.” I don’t agree!
I am a follower of Jesus Christ not because I fear “oblivion” or am motivated by Heaven. My experience in this life, along with an inner conviction that I believe is hardwired into my DNA by my Creator, has convinced me that His message of truth and love is the only “rational” response to the challenges I face every day as a sentient being, an individual, a citizen, a husband, a father, and a grandfather.
World News & Perspectives Adventist Congregation Wins $3.7 Million Land-Use-Suit Judgment “A Seventh-day Adventist congregation in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., was awarded $3.7 million in damages on April 24 when a U.S. district court jury determined that Prince George’s County had discriminated on the basis of religion” when it denied the congregation permission to build a church. If the congregation wins on the contested issues, a judgment will be entered for the jury’s award.” The county will appeal if they loose.
Adventist Hospitals Offer Help in Rwanda The four Adventist hospitals in Colorado, Avista, Littleton, Parker, and Porter are making a major commitment of time, money, equipment, and personnel to make a healthcare difference in Rwanda. These hospitals have just obtained a $750,000 grant to train local doctors in specialty areas such as general surgery, pediatrics, and internal medicine. This project is now supported by other Denver organizations including Engineers Without Boarders and the Denver Rotary Club.
After Disaster, Mexican Adventists Strengthen Church Bonds Amazingly, attendance and giving have in creased in the six months following a flood that covered 80 percent of the state of Tabasco, destroyed at least four Adventist churches, and killed fourteen members. Adventists, young and old, unskilled and professionals, have played a prominent role in relief work.
Adventist Join in White House Prayer Breakfast Dr. John Graz, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director, and James Standish, liaison to the U.S. congress, represented the Adventist Church.
Lessons Learned Value-added by Valerie N. Phillips supports the following moral with a thoughtful essay about the meaning of “value-added”. “Start with the basics and then add on your good works, but never do so in place of the weightier matters of the law. Only that, my friend, is added value.”
Reflections God Remembers by Loren Seibold is a reminder of the vanity of earthly greatness. And that’s a good thing to reflect on. But Seibold badly misses the mark when he asserts that in Heaven, if we ask the Jesus, “What did I do on earth that Your Father had to forgive me for? He’ll say, ‘My child, I really don’t know. Your sins are not only forgiven, they are completely forgotten!’”
Two things about this statement fail to convince. One is doctrinal, Adventist are Trinitarians not Arians—the belief that Jesus is a created being. And the other is rational. What is to permit sin from returning to haunt the universe if no one, even God, can remember what it was?
EDITORIALS Calling All Maryland Adventists by Roy Adams As usual, Adams leaves no doubt as to where he stands on the issues. This time it’s an attempt to legalized slot machines in the state of Maryland. “It’s unconscionable when governments seek to balance their budgets by destroying the lives of the most vulnerable of their citizens. . .No voting Adventist in Maryland can in good conscience refuse to stand up and be counted this November. My hope is that we would care enough to act.”
Keeping It Simple by Sandra Blackmer Blackmer references Randy Pauch’s Last Lecture given at Carnegie Mellon University on September 2007, in which he reveals that he is dying of pancreatic cancer. This brilliant 47-year-old professor’s message “cuts though the noise” of everyday life. His advice is simple, “Have fun, tell the truth, dare to take risks, look for the best in everyone, make time for what matters, and always be prepared.”
Blackmer reflects that her last lecture would include what Pauch said he wouldn’t address, “the spiritual and the religious”. (Subsequent interviews reveal that he is deeply religious.) And, if you haven’t seen him speak on Oprah or watched his lecture on the Internet, you should. In her essay, Blackmer asks an important question: “Shouldn’t the Adventist message cut through “the noise“ of academic textbooks, scholarly lectures, and doctrinal debates? __ Andy Hanson is a professor of Education at California State University, Chico.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/657